I was lying on my bed with my laptop, grunting like an angry vampire who had just seen a speck of light.
I was done school, I was free, right?
So why did I feel so damn alone? Why did I feel like I kept getting sucked into the online black hole, hissing at the outside world like an crabby old man who was yelling at the kids who were having too much fun.
We have this idea of what certain moments of our lives should be like, and when they fall short, we are lost. Is it the ideology of summer, that every single moment should be memorable and amazing?
These thoughts reminded me of a short piece I wrote in high school of just that, obviously this concern stays dormant in me and only attacks at the peak rise of summer season, every year.
I wrote about how our summer expectations are set too high, and we should enjoy being lost in the woods. I wrote it in a story-form, so here it is:
She stared at the window, full of potential freedom, full of possibilities beyond measure. She sighed while twiddling her thumbs in frustration: there were only a few days left of high school. It was surreal for her that the years had come and they had gone, and she was ready to embrace the future with confidence and passion. On top of starting a new chapter of university, summer was going to be the tip of the iceberg, the cherry topping on the cake: the wild.
She could physically feel the desperation of her fellow seniors as the last days of high school felt like years. She couldn’t decipher if that was a good thing or not ; even though she had hated her years in high school, somehow when it was coming to an end, she found it surprisingly hard to let go. Minute by minute, she felt weak and fragile, like her sense of security and certainty was lost, like she was falling off a cliff and desperately trying to hold onto thin air. The future was unknown, and that scared her to pieces.
As the last bell rang, her best friends turned to her, and their expressions were priceless. Their eyes danced with solace and sparkled in delight. This was it. The moment that everyone had been waiting for. The moment that was right in her fingertips. A sea of bittersweet feelings crowded her heart.
Summer was here. Summer was a time full of expectations, full of empty memories itching to be made.
Summer was magical, it was the time that everybody let loose to reveal their true self and open themselves up to things that really matter to them, whether it is family, friends, books, nature, or whatever made them happy.
But most of all, summer was all about love. Summer was going to be the time that she would hopelessly fall in love with a mysterious guy. She had it all figured out.
And the funny thing is that she did meet someone.
It was a starry midnight of July, and she was taking a walk, and inhaling the fresh air -full of opportunities. She closed her eyes dreamily, but she suddenly began to feel a strong headache. Dizziness started to cloud her body and right as a stranger was walking by, he caught her as she fainted.
And for the rest of the summer, they were soul mates: walking through dandelion gardens, visiting grandma’s orchard and riding on the kid swings.
Life was making sense. Everything was working out. Everything was just as it should be.
It was the first day of September when the chilliness of the air indicated how everything went wrong. The harsh breeze blew past her cheeks, cutting her like a knife as tears bombed her face. She tried to keep it in. She tried to be brave. But she and her soul mate weren’t together anymore. The one that she finally felt connected to, the one that carried around with him all her beloved secrets and cherished thoughts about love and life.
Gone in the smack of the fingers. And summer was supposed to be the cherry topping on the cake? The start to something more beautiful?
Is it because people raise so much expectations of summer, that it’s this perfect timeframe, this dimension, where things can’t undoubtedly go wrong? Is it because people think that summer is this aspect where time freezes and only good things can happen, because you are “free”?
Maybe love wasn’t all she needed. Maybe she really didn’t have things figured out. What if all she needed was to find strength in herself rather than others. Love had ruined her, but it didn’t have to scar her. She would rise up above the messiness of life, because maybe, just maybe, life was supposed to be parts of a puzzle, because it’s the journey of finding who you are and your potential in the world that’s important, rather than the destination.
So she would rise above it all. She would find the courage deep within her soul and fight. She would get hurt but would find a way to mend it and move forward.
After all, isn’t summer just about letting go and having fun with the people who are most important to you? The people that are worth your fight?
Years edged by softly. She ended up skipping along a riverbank on a bright June day. The birds were chirping, the sun scorched the fields and the aroma of daffodils were invading her lungs. A warm and friendly breeze blew wisps of her hair along her cheek.
She would find peace and love one day when she wouldn’t be frantically searching for it. She would have it all figured out one day. The world would eventually make sense again.
But for now, she had summer.
Sounds a little cheesy when I’m now reading it, but to my younger more dreaming brain, the struggle is real. This relationship she has in the story is a metaphor for summer in general, how it could be good one moment, and then gone the next, and you just have to savour the special moments.
But what I’ve also come to realize is that you have to make opportunities happen. I’m so sick of sitting here waiting for things to happen to me. And then you’re putting the source of your peace or joy onto others, onto circumstances…which is a dangerous road.
You’re in charge of your own happiness. You have to work with what you’ve got.
Stop telling yourself that if only things were different you could accomplish this or that.
Go make them different!
Even if you have a crappy few days, weeks or months, or even your years (but…I’ll be there for you…..when the rain starts to pour…hahha), just embrace the insanity, and know that you are still there, hopefully kicking and fighting strong.
So get out of bed, ask a loved one to hide your laptop and phone, and just experience the world around you.
It’s wonderful. It’s lovely. Open your eyes.
But also, adjust your lens.